One of the highlights of Pakistan’s ICC Champions Trophy 2017 triumph in England was Hasan Ali. The seam bowler was in terrific form, picking up 13 wickets in 5 matches at an outstanding average of 14.69. That one tournament made Hasan Ali an overnight sensation in Pakistan and a hero of several youngsters.
2017 was the year of Hasan Ali. He ended up with 45 ODI wickets in the year at a terrific average of 17.04 with three five-wicket hauls.
Hasan reveled in the adulation and soaked the praises coming his way. Wild celebrations after every wicket became his style and he was soon being seen as the next big bowling star from Pakistan.
For the ICC World Cup 2019 in England, Pakistan had high hopes from Hasan Ali. After all, he was returning to the place he had first made his name just two years back.
However, things haven’t gone to plan for Hasan Ali. In the four matches he has played so far in the World Cup, Hasan has picked up only two wickets and conceded 256 runs at an awful economy rate of 7.75 and a staggering average of 128. In Pakistan’s last game, against India at Manchester, Hasan ended up conceding 84-1 in his nine overs; that spell eventually helped India post an imposing total.
These are horrible numbers from someone who was being seen as the future bowling star of Pakistan cricket. Pakistan has been struggling in the ongoing World Cup, and Hasan’s performance has undoubtedly hurt them badly. With just one victory in 5 games and four more matches to go for them, Pakistan would hope that Hasan finds his mojo back and helps them win a few contests.
For now, criticisms have been pouring in from all sides for Hasan Ali. Former Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar came down hard on Hasan in a YouTube video he uploaded after Pakistan’s loss to India in the World Cup.
“Hasan Ali, who never shies away from jumping around at the Wagah border, couldn’t apply himself when it mattered the most. Many of his deliveries were short-pitched. His mindset seems to be: I want to keep playing T20s and the PSL. But in the World Cup 2019, we can see that he has not shown any pace or swing that could trouble batsmen,” said Shoaib Akhtar in the video.
Many of the criticisms against Hasan are justified. He is, undoubtedly, a talented prospect. But in the last two years, he has been seen indulging in various shenanigans on and off the field while his performance hasn’t been excellent. In fact, since the end of the Champions Trophy 2017, Hasan has picked up only 40 wickets in 32 ODIs at a paltry average of 35.72 and an economy of 5.70.
A lot has gone wrong for Hasan Ali very quickly after his moment of glory. In the World Cup 2019, he has been bowling short and wide, has been wayward with line and lengths and has not been able to mix his variations at all. Thus, batsmen have punished him.
Will Hasan Ali be able to rectify his mistakes and become the star bowler for Pakistan again? The next few games will answer that, and they are likely to be made or break for the fast bowler’s career.